[Discussion] Being positive

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[Discussion] Being positive

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-11-10 01:51pm

A lot of people complain about negativity on this forum. Some of those complaints may be well-founded. Others may not. Part of the problem is that like most forums, we have rules, and like most organizations, those rules are exclusively negative. In other words, a rule generally takes the form of "you must not do this".

However, we have (in the past) tried to encourage positives as well, even if they could not be laid out in rule form very easily. And when you think about it, you can just as easily characterize a "bad" thread by the absence of good behaviour, as opposed to the presence of bad behaviour.

So here's my idea: we should post guidelines about what constitutes a good post, for other members (and especially newbies) to learn (and to serve as a reminder to older members who have developed bad habits). And when we feel that someone is not living up to expectations, we would encourage them to aspire to that guideline first, before trying to find some rule that they've broken.

What say you, Senators? And if we do this, we should discuss what constitutes a good post in this thread. Eventually, the discussion would be distilled into an informative post for the Announcements forum that could be referred to easily.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Lagmonster » 2008-11-10 02:13pm

I am, admittedly, a scatterbrained writer, but when I review my serious posts, I look for three things that I feel I need to maintain:

Honesty, Clarity, and Accuracy.

Honesty is obvious, but it includes more than just not lying - it also means being sure that when I express an opinion that I honestly feel that way and am neither trying to puff myself up, tread board culture to simply hear a resonance of 'me toos', or to find ways simply to drag other people down or hurt them in the heat of the moment.

Clarity is something easily missed - does the post represent a coherent thought? Is it well-written? Is the point going to be misunderstood, or am I being unclear and thus dooming myself to rebuking a bunch of strawmen responses or misinterpretations that I could avoid by simply being straightforward and understandable?

Accuracy is almost a board war cry - if I cited facts, am I correct? Did I quote the right person? Did I actually READ THE FUCKING THREAD before replying? My low post count is owed entirely to my feeling that accuracy includes avoiding redundancy - if it's already been said, I don't need to say it.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Eleas » 2008-11-10 02:18pm

Darth Wong wrote: What say you, Senators? And if we do this, we should discuss what constitutes a good post in this thread. Eventually, the discussion would be distilled into an informative post for the Announcements forum that could be referred to easily.
I say, yes. A positive initiative for raising the overall level of quality would send a strong signal. Not only that, but a primer on how to construct an effective post that is clear, concise and enjoyable would be a great benefit for anyone wanting to improve their contribution.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Simplicius » 2008-11-10 02:24pm

I do think this would be a worthwhile thing, especially considering more than one past occasion where posters such as Surlethe have offered advice to newbies exactly along these lines.

Some thoughts just off the top of my head:

1. A good post is pertinent. It should stay as close to the topic at hand as possible; tangents should not detract from the main point of the post. Significant tangential points should deserve their own topic.

2. A good post advances the discussion. It should either expand or build upon previous points, offer information not previously introduced, or ask an insightful or useful question on which other posters can build.

3. A good post is as concise as possible. Rambling, melodrama, and asides water down the post, while jokes and flames are best sprinkled in for flavor, like a spice.

4. A good post is previewed before it is posted. We all may be communicating in real time, but we are still writing instead of talking. Time should be taken to edit for content, tone, and grammar and spelling, and perhaps to let a cooler head prevail when necessary.

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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Eleas » 2008-11-10 02:35pm

I like this. Particularly, I like the format Simplicus just used. "A good post is..." is a very appropriate way to dispense advice on how to post well, and I think we should retain that.

I'd also like there to be some specific examples of these techniques in action. Perhaps we could agree on a few posts in which one or two aspects are particularly well realized, and post them with commentary to that effect. It would serve to give concrete demonstrations of how to act, rather than scattered bits of advice.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Ghost Rider » 2008-11-10 02:44pm

There are a few bits I'll throw in about good posting.

-Observe. Observation is handy to do and adher too. Just because you have an opinion, see what the topic truly is about, instead of focusing on keywords or worse...buzzwords. A great many just see a few words, get heated, and attack. This leads to poor replies and escalates. Sit back, read everything, see what is being presented thus if need be you know what to attack. This does lead into a secondary point, post the primary points. Simply railing at the whole benefits your opponents and detractors instead of forwarding the topic or your position.

-Research. Come backed up with facts and a plethora of reliable information. This I see still in many topics in the science fiction department, but it can apply over the whole gamut of topics. A lot of people take for granted things that others have done, and never review the work or their own in fact. Building upon a bad foundation leaves you open for retailiation that you can only blame yourself. This also pertains do not simply ask the board on something that you can yourself discover.

A good example is if you have a discussion of the bible(a constant here). Review the bible or the very points you want to defend or attack. Sure, it is great to use outside sources to pinpoint specifics if you want something, but review that part yourself and understand it. When you post, it should be your point that you understand with clarity, not someone else's.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Coyote » 2008-11-10 03:10pm

If you are a high-profile user-- a Governor, Senator, other Mod, or just one of those high-postcount people who is a mover & shaker here-- don't be so quick on the draw with temper or flame. No one likes a schoolyard bully, and being abusive doesn't make you more right. Is bombarding someone with vicious names really necessary? Does it raise the level of discourse? If not, then show how cool and in control you are by containing yourself and express yourself with wit and maturity rather than like a sewage pipe.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Surlethe » 2008-11-10 07:56pm

I need to get to work, though I hope to post something substantial later. All I'll throw in now is this: Kuroneko's posts are an excellent example of even-keeled pure contributions.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by RedImperator » 2008-11-10 07:59pm

Surlethe wrote:I need to get to work, though I hope to post something substantial later. All I'll throw in now is this: Kuroneko's posts are an excellent example of even-keeled pure contributions.
Kuroneko's posts are the platonic ideal of pure contribution.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Ender » 2008-11-11 12:12am

RedImperator wrote:
Surlethe wrote:I need to get to work, though I hope to post something substantial later. All I'll throw in now is this: Kuroneko's posts are an excellent example of even-keeled pure contributions.
Kuroneko's posts are the platonic ideal of pure contribution.
I was going to cite Publius, but yeah, Kuroneko is another good example.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Edi » 2008-11-11 05:05am

Lagmonster and Simplicius have summarized my position rather exactly, Lagmonster especially.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-11-11 09:38am

Coyote wrote:If you are a high-profile user-- a Governor, Senator, other Mod, or just one of those high-postcount people who is a mover & shaker here-- don't be so quick on the draw with temper or flame. No one likes a schoolyard bully, and being abusive doesn't make you more right. Is bombarding someone with vicious names really necessary? Does it raise the level of discourse? If not, then show how cool and in control you are by containing yourself and express yourself with wit and maturity rather than like a sewage pipe.
The other reason not to quick-draw is simple: the correct time to blast someone is when he makes a really stupid or dishonest argument to support an opinion. Simply stating that he has an opinion is not the correct time.
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"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by RedImperator » 2008-11-13 03:34pm

Okay, you want positive examples? Here. 11 pages on gun control, a topic we once considered placing a moratorium upon because the threads always turned into screaming ragefests and firepits, and it stays civil for the entire length, even with both sides making remarks that last week probably would have triggered raging flame wars. It even had people from both sides admitting the other side made good points worth thinking about.

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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Surlethe » 2008-11-26 08:12pm

Another positive example. We mentioned Kuroneko; well, here is an exchange involving that esteemed Senator that, I think, fits the theme of this thread extremely well.
A Government founded upon justice, and recognizing the equal rights of all men; claiming higher authority for existence, or sanction for its laws, that nature, reason, and the regularly ascertained will of the people; steadily refusing to put its sword and purse in the service of any religious creed or family is a standing offense to most of the Governments of the world, and to some narrow and bigoted people among ourselves.
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by The Yosemite Bear » 2008-12-02 09:30pm

yeah, except some of us really can't help but see the universe slightly differently the rest of humanity. I mean I go off on so many tangents in day in reality I might as well be a scientific calculator.
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Agreement

Post by seanrobertson » 2008-12-08 04:58pm

I like the idea.

In addition to outlining criteria for what makes a good post, I like Eleas' idea. I definitely think it'd help to cite specific posts which illustrate the guidelines in action.

I humbly suggest we could take that a step further. The things that make a post good are universal; still, it wouldn't hurt if newcomers et al. could see superior posts in a specific context. Thus, if it's not too much trouble, I'd love to have illustrative posts for, if not all, most of the major forums. E.g., a good versus post, a good PSW post and so on.

Further, even though Announcements itself is the proper home for a more generalized "how-to," if anyone likes my idea, would it not be better to put forum or topic-specific posts in thier original forums?

Perhaps all that would be too much trouble? I throw it out there for the sake of clarity, 'tis all. If it's terribly redundant, that's no skin off my nose, gents :)
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Re: [Discussion] Being positive

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-12-08 10:02pm

Surlethe wrote:Another positive example. We mentioned Kuroneko; well, here is an exchange involving that esteemed Senator that, I think, fits the theme of this thread extremely well.
Not just Kuroneko, but also Academia nut stands out for the same reasons. Alot of people in that thread did a really good job and should be commended for bringing actual intelligent discussion and debate and correcting someone without pointless flames (note to others: Mike's calling Robo Jesus ignorant is NOT flaming, that was perfectly valid for the reasons Mike gave, and when someone is being deliberately ignorant, one is entitled to call them on it.)

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